Published: 13-12-2019 16:49 | Updated: 13-12-2019 17:28

New review sheds light on community-based tuberculosis screening policies and implementation

Tuberculosis is the world’s leading infectious killer. An estimated 3 million people with TB are never diagnosed and treated. To find those “missing” millions with TB, one strategy is to do active case-finding, also known as systematic community-based TB screening. A review published in BMJ Open explores the antecedents, components and influencing factors for active case-finding policy development and implementation.

"The evidence base for active case-finding is relatively limited, and stakeholders have diverging opinions about it. Therefore, making decisions about active case-finding is complex. Based on our review, there is hardly any study that described what helps or hinders active case-finding policy development", says Olivia Biermann, first author of the publication and PhD student with the Department of Global Public Health.

Interview with Olivia Biermann

"However, when it comes to putting these policies into practice, there are many studies that describe what makes or breaks the implementation, for example available resources for screening or existing stigma against TB in a community. Our review also provides insights into the history and the components of active case-finding policies".

"In a nutshell, we know little about what impacts the development of policies for active case-finding, but we know a lot about what helps putting them into practice. If you work in this field, hopefully our study can help you exploring active case-finding in your context and reaping its potential benefits", says Olivia.